Understanding branding vs. marketing in your multifamily strategy
As a creative agency, new clients often come to us confused about what goes into a comprehensive multifamily branding strategy. Nearly all clients know they need marketing in order to reach renters, but branding and design can feel a bit more nebulous. Below, we take a look at branding vs. marketing to help clear the murky waters.
First Things First: Invest in the Brand
Branding goes beyond the tactics you use to reach new audiences, such as websites or print brochures. However, branding will inform the look and feel of those marketing pieces – and it can even help you choose which pieces will best convey your brand and reach your target.
We like this definition of branding from 99designs:
“Branding, on the other hand, is the marketing practice of actively shaping your brand. Branding is about defining who you are as a company. It’s your mission, your values, and what makes you special and unique. It’s your key brand elements, like your logo, your website, and your brand style guidelines. If marketing is what gets people to engage with your company for the first time, branding is what keeps them coming back for years to come.”
That last line in particular should ring out loud and clear to multifamily managers. You not only want a steady stream of prospective renters knocking on your door, but you want wildly happy existing residents. Those current happy customers result in both renewed leases and referrals to qualified leads. Double win.
Your branding should answer questions like:
- Who is your ideal renter?
- What’s the neighborhood vibe?
- What functional benefits do you offer? (Location? Amenities? Service?)
- What emotional needs are met? (New apartment bragging rights? Sense of connection?)
- How does your community stand out from your competitors?
- What lifestyle can you deliver?
- How would a happy resident describe our community?
In short, branding encompasses all the extrinsic and intrinsic messages you want renters to internalize about your property and company. Think about the lifestyle amenities they seek, but also about the overall vibe your community gives off.
Marketing Tactics Make It Come to Life
Marketing, on the other hand, delivers your branding into the hands of your customers. From your website to social media, marketing includes all the various channels you use to reach renters. Other marketing tactics include:
- Printing a brochure
- Social media campaigns
- Banners and signage
- Offering a virtual tour
- Sponsoring a local event
On its own, marketing can generate leads – and many of those leads could turn into signed leases. However, strategic branding helps amplify your marketing piece and increases the chance of a sale.
For example, a basic marketing message might read:
One- and two-bedroom apartments for rent in downtown Charleston
But that same message with a branding twist would say:
Modern luxury meets old-world charm in downtown Charleston. Stroll historic cobblestone streets or sandy beaches right outside your door. Live where you play.
And that’s only the beginning of branding’s magic…
How Design Ties Them Together
Beautiful design can help send the message home. Stunning photography, colors that tell a story, carefully designed layouts and hand-picked fonts all work together to create a visual story that draws in your audience.
Before they ever read a word, they have a good idea of what your community represents. For example, take a look at this branding we created for Park Avenue Apartments in Salt Lake City.
Our close collaboration and early involvement with the Cottonwood team allowed the brand to be finalized during construction and was easily applied to critical signage components and customer touch points.
Marketing takes this message and delivers it to the right people in the right place.
Ready to take your multifamily marketing to the next level? Reach out to us to start a discussion about creating a unique brand strategy for your company or property.